I’m actually awake this evening as I sit down to write the RAW review. I fell asleep watching Treehouse of Horror XXIV after I got home from Battleground (which I had great seats for, very good view of everything, including the blank video wall after the power partially went out. FWIW, The Wyatt Family entrance is awesome in person!), then I wound up taking a nap before RAW started. In fact, as soon as I woke up from the nap and turned the TV on, the “Then Now Forever” signature was just starting. So, all that said, hopefully I’ll be able to get through this in a reasonable amount of time without having to take another nap halfway through. Let’s go!
I watch RAW. I write about RAW. You all complain and tell me the SmackDown review is better. I sat through Battleground last night and paid more for my ticket than you paid for the PPV. Cut me some slack. Jerks.
First 30 quick recap: Stephanie McMahon wants answers from The Big Show. He says he knocked out Orton at Battleground because he’s had enough. And he knocked out Daniel Bryan because she told him to, via Brad Maddox. Stephanie demands Big Show beg for forgiveness – he refuses, and she fires him, after she slaps the shit out of him. Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow have a Battleground Kickoff rematch, with the story being that Sandow blames a knee injury suffered during the match for not being able to cash in his Money In The Bank contract last night due to spending all his time choosing an injury lawyer. Ziggler wins again.
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon demands answers from Brad Maddox. She and Triple H left him in charge last night, and the Rhodes family won their match (and their contracts), the power went out, Scott Armstrong gets reinstated, and The Big Show went rouge. The fact that there is no WWE Champion is all on Brad Maddox. She says Triple H has been out trying to fix the mess he made. She asks if he made the proper arrangements, and he replies affirmatively. She says he’s going to go out and apologize and tell the WWE Universe what he’s going to do to make it up to them.
During the break, Bruno Sammartino made an appearance in front of his hometown Pittsburgh crowd, who sang Happy Birthday to him. Hope they got the rights to that – it’s not public domain, you know.
Alicia Fox leads out a team featuring her, Rosa Mendes, who is now a blonde, and Aksana, who cut her hair down to her shoulders. Natalya leads her team of herself, JoJo, and Eva Marie. They’re letting those two wrestle. Against Alicia Fox and Aksana. This is going to suck.
Natalya, Eva Marie, & JoJo vs. Alicia Fox, Aksana, & Rosa Mendes
Eva Marie is a San Francisco Giants fan. I wonder if she likes the Niners too. The fans are chanting for Eva Marie. This match isn’t as bad of a trainwreck as I thought it would be, but it’s still not good. I give it 1/4 GoftheInternets out of 27.
Brad Maddox comes out to the stage as soon as the match ends and offers a public apology for what transpired at Battleground. To insure that the issue between Bryan and Orton has a definitive ending, he’s announcing a rematch held inside Hell In A Cell. In addition, to ensure no further controversies, there will be a special guest referee. Later on there will be three candidates announced – and the WWE Universe will choose one of them. The first candidate is Booker T. Booker comes out to the stage and says we know him, he’s a six time World Heavyweight Champion. And we know that he’ll do the right thing for you, the people. And more importantlier than that (yes, that’s what he said), he’s going to do the right thing for business. In closing, he needs your vote, but most importantly, can you dig that, sucka?!?
If you own a smartphone and don’t know how to download an app, I don’t think I want you to vote for the guest referee.
Los Matadores are next.
3MB are in the ring. They’re the fodder for Los Matadores. Again. And El Torito. Which sounds like a tortilla chip. And looks like Mantaur. Hopped up on El Loko. Whatever. Time for 3MB to job.
Los Matadores (Fernando and Diego w/ El Torito) vs. 3MB (Jinder Mahal & Drew McIntyre w/ Heath Slater)
Jorge insists that these guys are an insult to Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and little people. Can’t disagree with that. They hit the bull dropping and pick up the win. Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater deserve better than this. Heath goes after El Torito but gets tripped up by Primo and Epico, then hit with a hurricanrana by El Torito. Bullshit.
Paul Heyman, Curtis Axel, and Ryback are walking backstage. That means they’re NEXT (in case you didn’t know already)!
Paul Heyman, Curtis Axel, and Ryback are in the ring (which they got to by walking from backstage. See how that works?). Paul Heyman still claims to be the Best In the World, because he beat CM Punk with both hands tied behind his back. Which is true. Punk has bragging rights of his own, he pinned Ryback last night. What the record books should say is that not only Punk is a bully, but also a cheater. Punk’s music hits, and he makes his way out to the stage, grabbing at his groin to make fun of Ryback, who lost via a mule kick to the balls last night. He asks if Heyman is calling him a cheater. Punk admits to no wrongdoing, all he did was win. Sure, maybe he kicked Ryback in the balls to see if he actually had any. Heyman says he’ll never have another chance to do that again. Punk says Heyman’s promises mean squat. Not only will Punk do it again, he will beat Ryback again. Punk accepts their assumed challenge for a rematch. He’ll take it any chance he gets. Punk says that’s what happens when you’re a bully and you pick on somebody smarter than you. Heyman convinces Ryback that Punk is bullying him right now and wants him to do something about it. Ryback says if Punk had any balls, he would’ve hit him in them a long time ago. Punk’s no hero, he’s a bully. He invites Punk to come to the ring and bully him right now. R-Truth’s music hits for some reason. He runs past Punk, then stops at the top of the ramp and gestures that he wants to be Punk’s partner. So I guess we’ve got a tag team match. And Charles Robinson is in the ring, so I guess it’s official.
CM Punk & R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel & Ryback (w/ Paul Heyman)
Punk and Ryback kick things off – or at least it looked that way before Ryback tagged Axel in. Axel works the match throughout the first segment and the break as Punk and Truth use frequent tags and work him over, until Axel manages to get Truth to his corner and get the tag to Ryback. This turns things into the Heyman Guys’ favor as they cut the ring in half. Truth takes a beating as Paul Heyman yells at him “now you’re involved.” Ryback breaks out an abdominal stretch – I haven’t seen one of those in forever! Sadly, he doesn’t do the old “grab the ropes for leverage while the referee is checking on the other guy” trick. Truth gets the tag to Punk, who drops the elbow on Axel, and takes out Ryback before putting Axel to sleep. He tags in R-Truth, who hits the Lie Detector for the victory.
Justin Roberts introduces the second candidate to be the guest referee at Hell In A Cell – Mr. Bob Backlund! He says he loves you people. And he’s got a heck of a reason why you should vote for him to referee this match. And he uses heck of because he doesn’t like the world hell. His reason is that he’s been a good guy in the business, and he’s been bad, and he doesn’t care who wins, and he doesn’t care who loses, he’s going to do the best job. Priority is good decision in the ring for the match, and if it gets out of control, he’ll put that person in the cross face chicken wing! Stand up straight when he addresses you! Backlund’s just as crazy as ever! I’d vote for him if I was home!
Kofi Kingston is in the building. Bray Wyatt didn’t eat his soul, apparently. Maybe his ribs though, since he’s clutching at them. Other things will probably be hurting after this match – he’s facing a very angry Randall Keith Orton. FWIW, after Battleground ended, Orton and Bryan each got up, and Bryan hit the MTBJC on Orton.
Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton
This doesn’t bode well for Kofi, who, if you recall, had a series of victories over Orton a few years back. Kofi actually puts up a bit of a fight. Not much of one, but more than I expected. A few fans chant for Mike Chioda, and then JBL. It’s better than what we got in Buffalo last night. I was trying to get a “Howard Finkel” chant started. It didn’t work. I should have tried to get a DDP chant going, seeing as how he’s going to be a guest on BoredWrestlingFan Radio Episode 95 this Sunday. Tune in at 2PM Eastern! I digress. Kingston manages to score a tornado DDT on Orton, turning things to his favor. He goes for an SOS, Orton pushes him, so he goes for Trouble in Paradise, which Orton ducks, and then hits the SOS – but Orton kicks out. He goes for a springboard cross body, but Orton caught him and uses his momentum to powerslam him. Kofi escapes the elevated DDT. It’s amazing how much offense he’s actually getting in this match. It doesn’t last much longer though. The action spills out of the ring, where Orton hits the elevated DDT on the floor. Orton rolls Kingston back in the ring and drops him with the Diamond Cutter for the win. Ok, fine. The RKO. Same thing. Feel the BANG!
After the match, Daniel Bryan assaults Randy Orton. WWE officials try to hold him back, but they can’t – Bryan is all over Orton. They finally get Bryan subdued – briefly – and Orton runs to the back.
Backstage, Vickie is berating an employee for taking too much vacation time. Alberto Del Rio asks if her announcement tonight is going to be that he is the new face of the WWE. He’s the only Champion they have. He wants the night off after destroying RVD last night, but the people need to see their champion, so he trusts Vickie to find him the right opponent. He says she is the most talented, respected, GM in history and that she’s sexy, beautiful, and intelligent. He gives her his scarf and kisses her on the cheek. She drops it on the floor after he walks away.
Justin Roberts introduces the final candidate for the guest referee at Hell in a Cell – Shawn Michaels! I think I know who’s going to win this one. He says he knows that everyone is aware that Triple H is his best friends, but that’s personal. We’re talking about business right now. HBK trained Daniel Bryan. However, he will not let that sway him. He won’t let his friendship with Triple H sway him, and when it comes to Orton, they don’t like each other, but HBK won’t let that sway him. He wants everybody to download the app and vote for HB Shizzle, and he wants to be the guest referee because he guarantees that he will make sure there is definitely a new WWE Champion, because ultimately, he doesn’t care if it’s best for business, he wants what’s best for each and every one of you.
They show us again how to download the app. Again, if you don’t know how to download an app and you own a smartphone, your vote shouldn’t count anyway.
Alberto Del Rio is out first for his match. After his attempt to butter up Vickie Guerrero earlier in the night, I wonder who his opponent will be. Michael Cole tells us that RVD has decided to take a little bit of time off. Vickie Guerrero comes out to the ring and introduces Alberto Del Rio’s opponent – Ricardo Rodriguez, who is wearing his RVD t-shirt.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Ricardo Rodriguez
Vickie stops this match before it starts to announce that he’s defending his title at Hell In A Cell against… John Cena?!? Ricardo Rodriguez sneaks up and rolls ADR up, and pins him!
Ricardo celebrates on the announce table, but he’s assaulted by Del Rio. The fans chant for RVD. Yes, RVD, not Cena. Del Rio wraps Ricardo’s arm in a chair and stomps on it, then locks in the cross armbreaker – the same thing he did to Rob Van Dam last night.
Zack Ryder is in the ring already when we come back. He’ll be taking on Fandango – who hasn’t yet wrestled in Buffalo (at least not as Fandango – he was in a dark match as Johnny Curtis against Michael McGillicutty last year at a SmackDown taping).
Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) vs. Zack Ryder
So they dug up Zack Ryder, huh? I know he was out on the stage when the Rhodes family won last night. Ryder goes for the Broski Boot but Fandango avoids it. Fandango hits the top rope legdrop and picks up the victory.
Jerry Lawler stands up and announces the winner of the vote – the special guest referee at Hell In A Cell will be… (act surprised) Shawn Michaels (61%). Bob Backlund was in second (32%), and hardly anybody voted for Booker T (7%).
The Real Americans are in the ring with Zeb Colter. No speech from Uncle Zeb tonight. Looks like we’re getting a rematch from last night’s PPV – Santino and The Great Khali are their opponents.
The Real Americans (Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro w/ Zeb Colter) vs. The Great Khali & Santino Marella (w/ Hornswoggle)
If Cesaro doesn’t do the Giant Swing on Khali, we riot! That was awesome last night, wasn’t it? The match actually has some of the same spots they did last night, including the Vader Bomb/Cesaro Stomp combo. Cesaro goes for the knees of Khali, then goes for the Giant Swing. 11 rotations tonight, which if I’m not mistaken is one more than last night. Cesaro pins Khali again.
After the match, Swagger catches Hornswoggle and sends him in to Cesaro, who feigns hurting his back going for the swing. Cole calls Hornswoggle “Dylan.” Way to maintain kayfabe, Mr. Journalist. Cesaro gets 7 rotations on ‘Swoggle before Santino hits him with the Cobra.
Video package: Titus O’Neil on breast cancer.
The Miz is walking backstage. Apparently, his guest on MizTV tonight is – The Miz.
Before The Miz can even get his introduction, he’s interrupted by The Wyatt Family. Harper and Rowan are in the ring when the lights come back on. Miz escapes them, and runs up the ramp at Bray Wyatt, managing to get past him. Wyatt laughs maniacally at Miz.
Backstage, Brad Maddox asks if he’s acquitted himself as General Manager. Stephanie says he has a long way to go. Triple H walks in and says he had a lot of work to do cleaning up somebody’s mess from last night. He asks if Maddox screwed anything up. Maddox says he’s going to go out and make sure – but Triple H stops him and says that he’s going to do nothing. Triple H is going to go out himself to make sure what happens in the main event is what’s best for business.
The Shield are out first for their match. They’re facing Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, and Goldust, NEXT!
R-Truth is getting a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship on Friday night. Goldust has his Darth Maul paint from last night on again – and you have no idea how glad I am to see him back on television. I mean, sure, I was rooting for The Shield last night, but I’m a huge fan of Goldust and really enjoy his work.
Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, & Goldust vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, & Dean Ambrose)
Triple H enters the arena after all of the competitors are in the ring. He walks over to a chair by the announce table, and we’re underway. I’m going to kick back and enjoy this one. I love how The Shield trash talk in the ring. Cody’s moonsault has improved greatly than when he first started trying it. All hell breaks loose, as per usual, and Bryan locks in the Yes Lock. Ambrose hits Cody Rhodes with a chair to earn the disqualification victory for Bryan and the Rhodes’s. Triple H says that’s not happening – it’s now no disqualification. Bryan takes out Reigns and Ambrose, but gets caught with an RKO by Orton, who rolls him back in the ring for Rollins to pick up the pinfall victory.
After the match, The Shield attack Bryan and the Rhodes’s. The fans chant for Big Show – and they get him! Despite the fact we’ve been told all night that he was escorted from the building. He’s still in his ring gear. Triple H gets in the ring and hides behind The Shield. Show walks up to the ring with a smile on his face. He gets in, and The Shield immediately swarm him – but he knocks all three of them down. As he goes for Triple H, however, The Shield regroup and take him out. He fights them off again and knocks out Triple H! Now that’s best for business! Daniel Bryan gets back in the ring and stands over the unconscious corpse of Triple H, leading the fans in a chorus of “YES!” chants.
Thoughts: Fuck man, I enjoyed this week’s show. I don’t say that too often anymore. I have no real complaints about this one. Only thing I want are explanations of how Big Show got back in the building after being escorted out by security, and why John Cena is the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. Well, I guess the fact that he never got his WWE Championship rematch factors in. Other than that, I’d say it was a pretty solid episode of RAW.
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